From twerking with Trump to tweeting your own fake news, AR lets you have some fun in a crazy world.
Augmented Reality is the “Rising Star” medium of our age, claims Liat Sade-Sternberg, CEO of fuse.it. And it’s hard to argue with that while watching a demo of a guy dancing gangnam style along with disturbingly agile avatars of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. We definitely live in strange times.
You can argue about whether or not that’s a good thing, but in this age of fake news and memes, the fact that this content doesn’t look too polished takes a back seat to whether you can do something fun and creative with it—and share it with one tap.
And that’s just the sort of use case that Sade-Sternberg is selling. Fuse.it is an AR app that lets you sync up multiple audio sources with video at the same time as interacting with a range of 3D animated characters including Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton.
You can insert yourself into memes and news clips, having “conversations” with media personalities, singing and dancing with your favorite (or least favorite) politician, and basically blend, color, manipulate and mash up any video source to create viral clips ready to share.
Using the app (which has just been released on iOS) is a matter of selecting a character or video you want to interact with, choose a camera position and begin recording. With a tap you can bring those characters to life, and record yourself interacting with them in your own surroundings, sharing the end results with friends. Fuse.it promises to keep adding the app’s content database to reflect the latest trending pop culture and news stories.
“It allows people to become content creators, with users easily able to make viral videos from fake news clips to memes,” Sade-Sternberg said. “We were looking for a new way to easily integrate people into videos and turn their media consumption from passive to active by letting them embed themselves into their favorite pop culture moments such as news, memes, movies, tv, music videos and more to let them be part of the story.”
She explains the original inspiration for the app came from trying to close the gap between official media and user generated content, providing a one-click solution to let users create blended content instantly. They decided to focus on video because it is as Sade-Sternberg puts it, “king of content.”
“Online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020,” Sade-Sternberg said. “Every day Over 8 billion videos or 100 millions hours of videos are watched on Facebook, 10 billion videos on SnapChat and 500 million hours of videos are watched on Youtube.”
The Israeli start-up—which was founded in Tel-Aviv but is currently headquartered in LA—also claims to have secured partnerships with several large music labels, but say they cannot yet disclose which.
As mentioned above, the quality of the demos is far from polished, but it is enough to have fun with, and to hint at what will become possible in the near future as the technology continues to gain momentum and become more pervasive. And this is certainly what Sade-Sternberg is betting on.
“As we see Augmented Reality become more mainstream, so too will we see more apps that mix creative animated worlds with the real world,” Sade-Sternberg said. “AR is already accessible to every person in the world. Google, Apple and Amazon all are investing big time in the technology so I think we’re going to see lots of improvement in this field in the upcoming months. We are in an exciting time, when we will define the behavior of how people will use AR apps.”